Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Back to the land & over the airwaves

Yesterday I signed up to spend a part of my weekend planting in McLaren Park. If it’s been a while since you’ve had some dirt under your fingernails, I’d suggest you volunteer at a park near you. We spend so much of our day-to-day lives touching little more than a keyboard, that it’s nice to get a firm grip around a shovel. It could do wonders for your carpal tunnel.

I also made a new pledge to KQED – the large Bay Area public broadcasting channel. If this seems like an odd donation choice – let me deconstruct it a bit.

In Bill McKibben’s “Deep Economy,” he devotes a part of his chapter on “The Wealth of Communities” to public radio and non-Clear Channel/etc.-owned stations. McKibben points out that “entertainment” is easy to come by, but it is nearly impossible to build community and discuss community issues on stations being run by a central entity thousands of miles away.

McKibben states: “Public radio stations testify to the instinct for community, if only because they all rely on listeners being willing to pay for something they can get for free.”

I can switch on the radio or TV any time of the day and be “entertained.” But if I want to know about local events, what local people care about, and how I can help out – supporting public stations can help deliver those messages.

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